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Winter Wonderland

January 23rd, 2018

Last week we woke up to a winter wonderland, which was quite nice after a lot of rain had melted all the snow. A few inches of snow had fallen overnight and the sun was shining, it was truly spectacular. I ended up going for a snowshoe in the morning instead of working in the office. Here’s what I saw:

What’s the weather like in your garden?

Friday Favorite: Labeled Plants

January 12th, 2018

When I first started gardening, I wasn’t very good at labeling things as I planted them in the garden. Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve tried numerous products for labeling things in the edible garden. After much trial and error, I finally settled on a few products that work well and help keep me organized.

I discovered a few different types of wooden plant markers that work very well. Another great benefit is that they are made at a shop only abut 20 minutes from my house. When I ordered wholesale boxes of these labels and markers for my shop, I drove up and picked them up. They use birch wood from the northeast, another bonus. I love it when I can support a small business with my purchases, especially one that is so local! I use the small labels in my seedling trays and the medium and large labels in the garden.

Another thing that always frustrated me when it came to labeling plants was the fading. There’s nothing worse than checking a plant tag only to realize it was unreadable. After trying pencils, grease pencils, sharpies, and a few other products, I finally found these Garden Markers (also made for the local company I get my tags from).

These will last for a year in the garden, sometimes more. I find they last longest on the large plant tags. When I harvest my garlic, I can still easily read the varieties on the tags. I’m so happy to have found these. Which is why I decided to sell them over at Seeds & Sundries. These have become one of my most favorite garden tools in the past 5 years since I discovered them!

What garden tools have you discovered and fallen in love with recently?

New to Me Nasturtiums

July 31st, 2017

In Ohio I tried growing nasturtiums many times, they never did well at all. Everyone always said they were so “easy” and did well in poor soil, yet I could never get them to do anything at all in my garden. I finally gave up trying to grow them and moved on to other annuals. When we moved to Maine and I was growing in a different area, growing them never crossed my mind until this spring. A pack of ‘Night & Day’ nasturtiums were ordered from Johnny’s, started in soil blocks, and planted throughout the garden.

I was not prepared for the exuberance of these plants. Here by the front door they’re taking over their pots, growing up the side of the house, and being fantastic. I planted one between each tomato plant in the main garden, they are growing up way too big. Last week I cut them back hoping they would regrow but be a little less crazy. I’m undecided on whether I like these plants and will grow them again next year. This pale yellow is nice, especially by the front door. I’m not a big fan of bright, brash colors in the garden, which nasturtiums tend to be. I guess I’ll watch these the rest of the summer and see what I think in another month or so.

What annual that everyone says is “easy” have you struggled to grow?

Friday Favorite: Southwest Airlines

February 17th, 2017

I’ve spent my life flying here there and yonder, when you live in a different country from you family this is the way life is. Throughout the years we’ve had good and bad experiences with airlines. Five or so years ago I discovered Southwest and will pretty fly with them if I have the option. With this big winter storm they were fantastic. We had flights purchased to head back to Ohio, it so happened both legs of our journey were on days with big winter storms. They alerted us the night before encouraging us to change our tickets (for free). Which we did. Then another storm threatened our next trip, they told us to wait and we could cancel up till 10 minutes before our flight and keep the ticket amount for a future trip or reschedule again if needed.

I’ve had lots of bad experiences on flights, amazingly, none of them have been with Southwest. I’m sure they have problems and eventually I’ll have a delayed or cancelled flight with them. I’ll still keep using them because their customer service is top notch!

Do you have any favorite companies to recommend?

Saving Time in Spring

November 23rd, 2016

In the fall, I always mulch my flowerbeds and garden areas heavily with compost (weed free) and/or chopped leaves and grass clippings. My first goal is to protect the soil throughout the winter. It insulates the soil/plants and helps them survive the winter better. The mulch also protects the soil and nutrients in the soil from being washed away. My favorite reason to mulch heavily in the fall – weed free gardens in the spring/summer!
In my perennial garden beds I use chopped leaves and grass clippings. In my edible garden areas I add a weed free compost I buy from Kinney Compost. I not only protects my soil in the edible garden areas, but it feeds the soil as well. In the areas I’ve added this compost for three years the health of the soil is noticeably better than in areas where I haven’t added it. My soil is extremely free draining, this layer of compost mulch helps my soil retain moisture in the summer and it adds valuable humus in order to make my soil have better structure.

What’s your favorite kind of mulch?

Seeds and Sundries
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Berkey Water Filter

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.